Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has requested a trade, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Brown did not demand a trade, per day, but he has asked to be dealt, JLC hears.
Brown’s request does not automatically mean that he will be traded, of course. La Canfora believes it’s very unlikely that owner Art Rooney II will give in, so the Steelers could be in for a long standoff with a star offensive player for yet another year.
The Steelers, for the most part, have operated as a well-oiled machine. However, things have fallen apart as of late. The team’s relationship with running back Le’Veon Bell took a strange turn in 2017 and, ultimately, led to a year-long holdout in 2018. Meanwhile, Brown has been at odds with several key figures in the organization, including head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Recently, Brown tossed a ball at the QB’s feet during a walkthrough and stormed out of the building. Brown did not play in Week 17, and we now know that his absence was not injury-related.
Tomlin and Big Ben are well-aligned and Brown feels that the two are a bit too well-aligned, JLC hears. Obviously, there are issues for all three men to figure out, but the good news is that they have plenty of time to mend fences between now and the start of the 2019 season.
Brown, 31 in July, had 104 catches for 1,297 yards plus a career-high 15 touchdowns. Those numbers put him in the Pro Bowl, but they’re actually a step back from his finest work, which includes 1,500+ yards in 2017 and 1,800+ yards in 2015. Brown was an All-Pro every year from 2014-2017, but was unable to make the cut this year.
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